I’ve recently begun an experiment … I’ve joined Twitter. Some have admonished me for being so late in joining the party, and others have responded with a quizzical look that says “is this the thing that geeks do?”
A week into it and I have found it to be quite a natural extension to the status updates I do on Facebook, but with an edge. Twitter interests me because of the unstructured way in which people can broadcast thoughts, activities, links to interesting material, and well, just about anything that can be converted into 140 characters of text. In short, each “tweet” is a fragment of narrative. It is, as Scott Stratten wrote, the conversation that’s happening, right now. It is also a platform that exposes our human desire to broadcast and share our stories – the stories about who we are, where we are and what we are.
Now, lets turn the thinking from a social network towards how this might work in organisations … Do you know what people are talking about, right now, right within your organisations? Do you know the conversations that are happening, right now, in your organisations? How valuable would this be?
If my assumption is true (that people, given the appropriate platform, desire to publicize stories about themselves), would a similar twitter-like platform not allow us to get a grasp on the stories being told by staff in our organisations.
Now, I’m pretty sure some leaders would be s%&# scared of actually getting this information. Others would argue that such a platform would become a blasting board for staff unhappiness. Others would argue that strict rules would be needed. Others still would simply balk at the idea.
I believe differently. I believe that it is because leaders are not in touch with the conversations happening within their organisations that they face such high staff turnover rates; that decisions they made thinking would be implemented are not implemented; that they feel so alienated from their workforce.
I believe that, if sufficiently empowered, staff will share their stories publically.
If it is true that organisational culture is at the same time an enabler and barrier to organisational performance, leaders need to be informed about the conversation that’s happening, right now, in their organisation.